Why Babies Are So Helpless
I've been on a huge reading kick lately. So far this year I've read 8 books already (which is unheard of for me). But I'm loving it!
I recently got the chance to finally read 'Call The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times".
I love, love, love the show so much (still waiting for the next season to be available on Netflix Canada...) so I knew I had to read the book that the show is based on.
It was a quick read for me, very hard to put down, as I was so engulfed in the world of Poplar and Nonnatus House. Not only was the book super entertaining, but it made me think. There were quite a few ideas that stuck with me, but there was one particular theory that I wanted to write about for all you lovely people!
The following is an excerpt from 'Call The Midwife', written by Jennifer Worth:
"The helplessness of the newborn human infant has always made an impression on me. All other animals have a certain amount of autonomy at birth. Many animals, within an hour or two of birth, are up on their feet and running. Others, at the very least, can find the nipple and suck. But the human baby can't even do that. If the nipple or teat is not actually placed in the baby's mouth and sucking encouraged, the baby would die of starvation.
I have a theory that all human babies are born prematurely. Given the human life span - three score and ten - to be comparable with other animals of similar longevity, human gestation should be about two years. But the human head is so big by age two that no woman could deliver it. So our babies are born prematurely, in a state of utter helplessness."
Want some more proof to back this up? Here is an excerpt from The Washington Post that supports Jennifer's theory:
'Helpless infants need smart parents to take care of them, and intelligent parents need bigger brains. But giving birth to offspring that will develop big brains is a challenge, because the mechanics of getting a big head out of a mother's body are, well, difficult. That means babies need to be born at an earlier stage of development, before their heads get too big — when they're even more tiny and helpless.'
Think about that, eh? It makes so much sense!
No wonder the first few months after delivery are called the Fourth Trimester.
This is because, even though baby has been born, she is still developing.
Her brain is creating neural pathways, her vision & hearing is improving, and she's just getting used to living life in a big, open space rather than snuggled up all warm & safe in your womb.
It's a big transition time which is why it's so important to keep baby close to you as they still rely on you for everything! I speak about this in my post about Kangaroo Care & The Importance of Human Touch.
Because human babies are so helpless at birth, they absolutely need to be held & carried!
Remember, you can't spoil a baby. They literally need you to survive. No amount of cuddles is going to do them harm.
They need it to grow into a well-adjusted human.
The way this works is by them knowing that you are there to comfort & support them, they feel safe and don't release as many stress hormones. Which has a lasting impact on that still-developing brain.
I just thought this was such a neat idea and had to share it.
Human babies are totally useless...or um, helpless rather (Hamilton anyone?).
But also totally adorable. So get those snuggles in!